Sunday, January 21, 2007

Inconvenient Lies

Last night I stayed in with my kids, giving Mrs. Yen a chance to get out with her best friend.

After posting that last post, about the abomination of casting Tony Danza as Max Bialystock, I realized it was time for my 12-year-old son to see the original movie. He loved it-- he got all the jokes and loved the characters.

There's a great scene in the movie that always sneaks up on me-- I always forget it's coming. Right before the premiere performance of the attempted flop musical "Springtime for Hitler" is about to start, Max Bialystock, placed by the imcomparable Zero Mostel, tells Leo Bloom (played by Gene Wilder) that he is going to hammer the last nail in the coffin, to assure that the musical will be a flop. He walks over to the New York Times theater critic and openly, brazenly tries to bribe him. The man is of course, incensed.

This morning, as I read the New York Times op-ed pages, I chuckled, remembering that scene, and thought that the Bush Administration might want to bribe the New York Times into returning Frank Rich to his former post as chief theater critic there. As a political editorialist, he's become an embarassing thorn in their side.

His piece today, entitled "Lying Like It's 2003" is devastating. He points out just how farcical this whole thing has gotten.

Dick Cheney is back, accusing administration critics of aiding the Al Queda. Rich points out that that the last time he did this was in 2003, when he was "hawking Iraq's nonexistant W.M.D and nonexistent connections to Mohamed Atta..." and "set the stage for a war that now kills Iraqi civilians in rising numbers (34,000-plus last year)"

Apparently on Fox New Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Mr. Cheney about the White House's decision to overrule commanders who recommended against a troop escalation. Get this: Cheney replied "I don't think we've overruled the commanders."

And then came the biggest whopper of all: he said that the administration is not "embattled."

I don't know what I'm more incredulous about-- Cheney's fictions or the fact that someone at Fox News gave him some questions that weren't great big fat softballs.

Rich went on to point out some of W's whoppers on Sixty Minutes. One of the great ones was that "everybody was wrong on weapons of mass destruction." Yeah, everybody-- except UN weapons inspectors, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). They told you there were no WMD's.

If you can get ahold of the article, read it. Rich points out how now the administration is even trying to rewrite the past events trying to justify their failures and mistakes.

When Frank Rich was theater critic, he was hated by a lot of the New York theater community-- he was very, well, very frank in his criticism. He has a long and deep love of the theater, and never pulled his punches. He did not cotton to bad, unconvincing drama-- and apparently still does not.


Erik Donald France said...

I'll have to track down the paper copy of Frank Rich's op-ed piece. But I like the opening line: "This White House gang is so practiced in lying with a straight face that it never thinks twice about recycling its greatest hits." Thanks for recommending it. And amen on The Producers! I can't see the remake :->

Johnny Yen said...

I'd give you the link, but the NYT now charges in order to get at the op-ed pieces. I love getting the paper version anyway. And as a teacher, I get it 50% off (only about 20 bucks a month-- that includes Sundays)

kim said...

What is this Mrs. Yen business?
No comprende.

Bubs said...

I'm a little more than half way through "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" by Frank Rich. Got it as a gift from my daughter, it's an excellent but infuriating recap of this administration.

Tenacious S said...

Really sorry we missed you both on Saturday. Maybe another time.